Utah Policy/KSL Insider Survey: Who Won the First Democratic Presidential Debate?

Democrats had their first shot at the debate stage last week, with five candidates squaring off in Las Vegas. Our “Political Insiders” think Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was the victor.

41% of the respondents on our panel said Sanders showed the best. 27% said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the winner.


Selected anonymous comments:

“I thought Sanders did a great job framing the issues, with Clinton often reacting to what he said. Also, he was the only person to mention media bias and made stronger statements about the influence of money in political campaigns than Clinton did.”

“Hillary clearly ‘won’ the debate (whatever that means), but Sanders won, and Joe Biden lost big-time credibility. I think we’re down to Hillary and Bernie.”
“A Socialist, a Communist, an Ignoramus, and a Pathological Liar. Nobody won.”
“Watched every minute of it. Hillary was in good form; this was more a paid political ad than a real debate. Hard questions were asked, but all of them had been given the questions long enough to research and come up with credible answers. A tad phony for my taste.”
“Hillary was a close second. In fact, it may have been a tie. Webb and Chafee need to drop out ASAP. They embarrassed themselves. Chafee, with his whining about ‘I was brand new in the Senate, and my dad just died, so I didn’t know what I was doing! Quit being so mean!’ Webb, with his trying not to sound racist while putting air quotes on the term people of color.”
“Nobody believes a word Hillary says, which undermines her apparent victory in some media publications. Sanders, although beating the same drum, is consistent and did well. The other players stayed in the background despite their best efforts. Sanders won.”
“Hillary wiped the floor with the other four so thoroughly; you’d think this was all a setup. Webb seems like he’s in the wrong party.”
“I think Joe Biden was the winner by virtue of not being there.”
“Hilary ‘won’ it, but Sanders earned a lot of credibility. The others – and Joe Biden – were obviously non-contenders.”
“Hillary won, but I liked Bernie the most.”
“In a way, these debates remind me of the days we went to my kids soccer matches when they were about five-years-old. Rather than seeing a ‘real’ soccer match we saw something that resembled a ‘scrum’ in rugby. The ball really didn’t go anywhere. A few kids might have had the ball for brief periods, and occasionally my child might kick the ball a few times, resulting in not very much action on the field. The child that kicked the ball the most might have seemed to do the most, but: a true goal being scored was pretty much a future dream. Thus, we have pre-pre-season presidential debates, a scrum where no one scores a goal.”
“The big winner was the Republican party. All the world saw was a bunch of angry white people shouting on a stage. No one on that stage could beat Marco Rubio.”
“Jim Webb was the least crazy of the group. God help us all.”
“Clinton sounded too mechanical. Sanders was more genuine.”
“People got what they expected from Hillary and Bernie (no gains or losses though they were both solid) but Martin O’Malley got introduced to the county and came out looking compassionate, presidential and smart. The other two candidates just looked and sounded awful.”
“Bernie won by a long shot. I prefer his ideas and plans and feel he is the only one that will truly take on the 1% and end the oligarchy. I would say that O’Malley came in second. I was quite impressed with his answers especially his closing statements. Webb struck me as being way too conservative. Chafee couldn’t explain his votes. And I wasn’t pleased with several of Hillary’s answers(on social security and a livable wage especially) and the fact that she came off as too rehearsed. In the next national polls, I expect Bernie to be at least tied with Hillary.”
“Bernie spoke to the middle class; Hillary spoke about them.”
“No contest. Hillary was presidential, poised prepared and showed she is the best-qualified candidate. Felt sorry for Chaffee, and Webb.”
“Clinton’s a robot who tried to look friendly. Sanders has passion but is nuts on too many issues. O’Malley made the most sense. That said, I am not voting for the Democrat no matter who it is.”
“The real winner was Joe Biden. Bernie had a great performance, but it is doubtful he will pull supporters from Clinton. Bernie is to the Democrats what Ron Paul was to Republicans.”
“The Republican candidates won. Wow…those people are nuts.”